Lyft’s CEO tells employees to return to the office

New York (CNN) Lyft’s new CEO David Risher announced another change for the ride-hailing company: Workers will soon have to return to the office.

On Friday, Risher announced “the first steps in a plan for a flexible model with more regular work in the office,” a Lyft spokesperson said.

“Personal connection is important and Lyft is about bringing people together,” Lyft said in a statement.

Lyft did not comment on the details of the plan, but The New York Times reported that Risher informed employees that they would be required to return to the office at least three times a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — starting after Labor Day.

In an interview with the newspaper, Risher suggested that telecommuting had isolated employees from each other, adding, “There’s a real sense of satisfaction that comes from working together on a board about a problem.”

It’s a polar reversal from Lyft’s previous policy. In March of last year, the ride-sharing company announced that it would become a “completely flexible workplace”, giving employees the choice of where to work and live, while strongly supporting in-person team gatherings.

“A flexible workplace strikes the right balance between trust and choice—helping us do our best work while attracting and retaining top talent,” Lyft said in a 2022 blog post.

Lyft also decided last year to sublease portions of the company’s office space in San Francisco, New York City, Nashville and Seattle, Bloomberg reported.

The move is part of new CEO David Risher’s drive to streamline the company as it continues to struggle to turn a profit.

Risher, an Amazon veteran who served as its first chief product officer and head of U.S. retail operations, took over earlier this month after co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer stepped down from their leadership positions.

The announcement to return to the office came a day after Lyft said in an SEC filing that it would cut 1,072 employees — or 26% of its workforce — and eliminate 250 vacant positions.

Risher said Lyft would “significantly reduce” its workforce last week, adding that the layoffs were aimed at making Lyft a “faster, flatter company where everyone is closer to our riders and drivers,” according to an internal memo.

It was the second layoff announcement since November, when the company announced a 13% cut in its workforce amid fears of an impending recession.

While Uber’s ventures outside of ridesharing, such as meal and grocery deliveries, helped the business, Lyft hasn’t diversified. It had a bad earnings report for Wall Street in the last quarter – the stock is down approx. 70% in the last year.

CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this story.

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